I Cecil You, Too

          I have never celebrated the fake holiday in mid-February.  It's a scam holiday which business's use to sell cards, flowers, candy, and all that foolish shit.  I give gifts of love when the time is right, not when someone else says I'm supposed to.

          Anyway—what the fuck is this thing we all have labelled with the word: LOVE?  I know what mix of emotions I feel/have felt for those I've loved and do love (not a very large list) but it's amazingly hard to explain how certain fluctuations in my brain's chemicals affect my heart/brain/gut/libido, and even harder to understand/compare when others explain their "feelings of love".  We just assume everyone must be feeling the same way we feel when we use the same words they use.

          "See that color?  That is what I have labelled: Red."
          "Oh, that's red?  Ok, I'll begin to refer to everything which is colored that way: red.  Umm, what about when I feel all these crazy feelings at the same time?  I need a label, so that when I am feeling all these feelings I do not need to explain each of them every time."
          "That is labelled:  Love."
          "What about all those same feelings, except one:  I don't want to be physically intimate?"
          "Still labelled: Love.  You could add the word Platonic, but that'll require an explanation because that word has different interpretations."
          "What about when I feel all those feelings for my pet?"

          "When I say, I love my cat (Cecil) I think I must be misusing the word.  Instead, I should use a word that compounds the meanings of the words: pride, enjoyment, happiness and admiration."

          I'm proud of Cecil's training and I enjoy his 'loving' attention.  He never makes me angry (Mostly because he can't communicate with words, has no malice, and enjoys my company) and I admire him for his actions, looks, demeanor, and thoughtfulness (is he being thoughtful?  I'm probably just anthropomorphising his behavior).  Maybe I should consider his name, Cecil, to be my label for what I feel about him.  When I say, "Such a good Cecil"  I really mean that I'm currently feeling a combination of pride/enjoyment/happiness/admiration.

          When I receive an "I love you," I—almost never—use the phrase: "I love you too". 

          Because it's wrong to treat an I love you, as if it requires a mandatory reply.  It is not supposed to be interpreted as if it were the question: Do you love me?  Also, it should not become a replacement phrase for goodbye.  When people do that, they cause their incessant I love you's to lose their value.  Eventually, it becomes a throw-away line.  If said all the time, what do they say when they really want someone to know they have caused a rush of complicated emotions which are identified (when felt all at the same time) as the feeling of love?  

Recap:  "I Love You"—all three words—are reserved for when the emotion of love is actually being felt.  I do not want my I love you to cause an immediate response of I love you too.  I prefer either no reply or a response like: "those words make me feel good," or "Thank you," or "I like it when you tell me that," or "those words make me happy," or "when you say that, I get warm inside".  It is better that the person you love smiles and says nothing, and some time in the future, if they tell me they are currently feeling the emotion they call love—for me—I know they're feeling love at that moment and I can decide to reply with my present feelings, or not to reply.  I appreciate their statement of love when they are feeling it and then I consider what I did to make them feel that way.  This is my normal.

          When she was young, I tried to encourage my daughter, Denise, to understand and to communicate her feelings of love.  It was a long and complicated issue.  I found communicating my thoughts to her and her mother, on expressing love, very difficult.  I felt there was a lack of love in our family, and wanted us to tell each other that we loved each other more often (it worked occasionally).  I also wanted us to communicate our love by kissing (which never caught on).  The compromise I got from my daughter was cheek-bumps.  I failed at explaining to her that bumping cheeks was how people communicated respect to either: an old and feeble relative; someone who was contagious; or (in France) because that was their custom.

          Denise now says I love you to each of her children many times a day.  Each of her kids reply with a I love you too.  I see and hear their devotion and their respect.  With them, it does not seem to be a "worn out phrase" or a "throw away line".  In fact, when a child is upset (and, intentionally, does not reply to their mother's I love you) they—routinely—apologize (later) and remind her that they love her.

          I am now an old relative with whom respectful cheek bumps may be apropos.  And, now, I am adjusting to her normal.  Now, I reply to her I love you with an I love you, too.

Landmines, Deal Breakers and Brass Rings

This essay is intended to help you with future “new” relationships.  I hope this information is considered valuable enough that you decide to teach your children to apply this to their future adult relationships.

Before beginning a new intimate relationship with someone, I have picked an appropriate time to have what I refer to as my, “Landmines, Deal Breakers, and Brass Rings Conversation”.

“Landmines” are things you know about yourself.  They can be any value, character trait, habit, and/or fetish, which you are aware other people may not like.  Landmines are not obvious (and sometimes we intentionally hide them).   Tattoos are a good example; some people dislike all tattoos and others just dislike certain types of body art.  A large number of clearly-visible tattoos might not be considered a Landmine (unless the racist ones are all hidden), however, someone with a few concealed tattoos should consider them a Landmine. 

Although identifying and sharing each others Landmines are crucial to a healthy relationship, the most important aspect of discussing Landmines is that it starts “The Conversation” on a positive note.  Each person shares something they are either embarrassed about themselves, or their past, or which the other person might find off-putting.  To decide if something is or is not a Landmine, I ask myself, “If I don’t share this, and—instead—they discover it in the distant future, could I be accused of being intentionally deceitful or lying by omission?”
Examples of Landmines:
  • Incarcerations 
  • Addictions
  • Diseases
  • Non-standard employment
  • Non-standard housing
  • Pet issues or allergies
  • Children given for adoption
  • Previous long-term relationships
  • Dangerous or risky behaviors 
               “Deal Breakers” are things you absolutely will not tolerate in another person.  Many non-smokers consider smoking or vaping (of any substance) to be a Deal Breaker.   At this point in “The Conversation,” each person takes turns explaining to the other the types of behavior(s) which—if discovered in the future—would cause them to terminate the relationship.  For example:  if someone quit smoking a while ago (and didn’t consider it important enough to be a Landmine) and then the other person told them that smoking was a Deal Breaker, it’s now a subject which needs further discussion.

Normally, people identify things they consider Deal Breakers based on their past.  If a previous significant other was a habitual liar, they may no longer put up with the smallest amount of dishonesty and—therefore—might consider some “white lies” to be Deal Breakers; along the same lines, if a previous significant other constantly acted jealous for no reason, they may now consider any hint of jealous behavior to be a Deal Breaker.

Examples of Deal Breakers:
  • Pregnancy
  • Watching sports on TV
  • Share love of pets
  • Must not Hunt or fish 
  • Share same Religion
  •  Have the same Personal Politics
  • Watch Pornography
               “Brass Rings” bring “The conversation” to a close on a positive note.  Each person explains at least one thing they would ultimately love to receive from the relationship, or from their partner.     This is the point where each person is expected to bare their deepest desire.  Selfishness is a must when explaining one’s Brass Ring(s).  It does not work if—after making it all the way through the Landmines and the Deal Breakers—someone claims their Brass Ring is just the happiness of the other.  

Examples of Brass Rings:
  • Clitoral orgasms
  • Enjoyment of specific sexual acts
  • Destination vacation
  • Financial security
  • Platonic love
  • Children